Today could be the day that the UN lifts the sanctions regarding Libya and re-opens the airspace. But will Air Malta be there?
As already reported on this paper’s Sunday sister, Turkish Airlines have been advertising that today will see flights from Tripoli and Benghazi connecting Libya to Istanbul.
But Air Malta might not be able to fly to Tripoli today, nor to Benghazi, although, as the national airline announced on Monday, it has been cleared to fly both cities.
The reason for this delay has nothing to do with Air Malta, the airline said, and was all to do with the EU and Schengen procedures.
Turkey has no visa requirements for Libyans entering Turkey, and vice-versa. But in the case of Malta, Malta being both in the EU and in Schengen, the visa issuing procedures have to be set-up and enforced at both ends.
With Malta’s embassy in Tripoli only being reopened and re-activated over the past days, the setting up of a properly-functioning visa office takes prime importance.
A Foreign Ministry official told this paper that visa issuing procedures are now working ‘normally’ since the Maltese embassy re-opened on Thursday. Applications for visas have been received and are being processed. The same is happening, informed sources said, at the Libyan embassy in Malta with regard to Maltese and other citizens who want to travel to Libya.
Things are however, even more delayed in Benghazi where Malta still has to convert an ad hoc representation office to a consular office and install the visa procedures and send people to man the station.
Air Malta said on Monday it is closely working with the Maltese government and Libyan officials to restart and facilitate travel arrangements as soon as possible.